Friday, November 22, 2019

Game Over: The Farm Report 11-23-2019

Game Over
The Farm Report 11-23-2019

In spite of my best-laid plans for fresh salads at Thanksgiving and maybe Christmas, and possibly maybe even for the Superbowl Game in February, it isn't to be. We've had a 'Game Over' cold snap reminding us who is in charge (it isn't us) and all is done for the year. The harvest is done, the growing is done, and I'm ready for a slower easier time myself. Everything has a season, and this new slow season is being forced on me - and gladly accepted.

This recording thermometer inside the greenhouse pretty much tells you everything you need to know about what the fall season has been like. I was running the air conditioner October 7, and running the furnace (my new boiler!) about 3 weeks later. We actually recorded 1 degree F the night this low showed up inside the greenhouse. Then that day was super sunny and look what happened when I didn't open the doors for ventilation. Yep, frozen veggies - steam cooked. Oh well....

OK, so maybe I'm not all done yet. The Sweater Pan Spinach just laughed at the temps and kept right on growing. I'm using the Kratky hydroponic system with the spinach - low input, low maintenance; just plant and grow. Anybody can do this anywhere. Spinach pasta for Superbowl? Maybeeeee.

Beauty is where you find it, and I thought these frost bitten, worn out Euonymus leaves were really pretty. My Dad always called them 'Unanimous' bushes just to be funny. Euonymus alatus seems pretty formal. That bush that turns bright red in the fall and has square stems is another way to describe it. A rose by any other name....

If you're keeping count, this is supposed to be the typical November picture of the farm from my office window in the shop building. I have tried to take the shots at about the same time of day each month, and from the same spot. Those shadows were supposed to say, 'The light is getting dimmer each day. The seasons, they are achangin'.' 

Or is this the stereotypical November picture? It was taken the day after the first one. Yes, that is snow and ice, kids.

More verification. AC first of October, Furnace by the first of November; make a note.

Annie is growing up. She still thinks I need a leader - Her! - and she likes her comforts. This old junker chair is her favorite place to watch and make sure I'm busy getting things done. This is not photoshopped. She likes her arm rests and uses them often. She can be kind of a comedian sometimes; sometimes not though!

So speaking of real comedians! This is my neighbor, Ron's son Shawn. He is the real deal and has the bumps and bruises to prove it. I put this pic in here for two reasons: One - watch Shawn perform at the National Federated Bull finals if you can. (If you go to my Facebook page, I have a shared link to it. The finals are December 6 and 7 in Sedalia, Missouri.) I hope they stream it so I can watch too. Two - Shawn's son is Tate. Tate worked for Joyce a couple of summers and is like our added on Grandson. Tate's girlfriend's parents raised Annie Oakley and that's how I came to have her. Maybe the clown blood is really there? Anyway, Shawn is a great guy, and he's just as naturally funny as his dad. Both are just my naturally good neighbors - once in awhile they actually shoot a deer on Oakdale Farm.

What the...??? When I came home from church last week, here is what I found when I went to the shop to let Annie out. It was strung all over the place.

Somehow in her boredom, she found a spare roll of Mylar bird-scare tape with extra sparklies on it. She must have spent all morning chasing up and down the wood shop with that roll. I now know more about Annie: She is a religious Republican. I learned several months ago (she will be 6 months old next week) that she was probably a Republican. How? Well, at the time she was spending her early evenings indoors with me. I enjoy watching Rachel Maddow's political commentary show. (She is, after all, Dr. Rachel Maddow, the Rhode Scholar with a Ph. D. in political science from Oxford. I learned a long time ago that the dumbest thing I could do was to be the smartest guy in the room. You never learn anything with that setup! Plus, Joyce would get pretty agitated with her presentations, too. And that made it all the more fun for me. Just sayin'.) By the time Rachel started her rants, Annie would get agitated. When I started taking her out to the shop where it was quiet for the evening, she would settle down. So, I knew that she must be a Republican - or a really active little Texas Heeler pup who was too stimulated by the sounds and lights of the TV. It is more fun to think of her as an ultraconservative Republican though. Religious? Well, I now also know that she is religious and likes to decorate here living spaces for Christmas. That's the only reason I could figure out that would make her want to spread Mylar sparklie bird tape all over the place while I was sitting in church praying for her. She was getting ready to put up the Christmas decorations and garland - if only she had thumbs....

Annie has been taking Lumberjack In Training classes from me. Or would that be Lumberjenny? Whatever it is, Annie likes to go logging with me in the timber. She knows I always need supervision. Look at that focus. Every time I look up, she's watching me  with that intensity burning holes at whatever she is staring at. No wonder they can push livestock around.

Here is my new log splitter setup. 

It is probably against the law and will void every warranty, but I also put a jib crane on it so I don't have to lift or pull any logs to the splitter.

Just in case you might want one for yourself, here's how I did it.

A bolt-on bumper hitch receiver is the key. That and welding on a piece of hitch tubing to the bottom of the jib crane. This is how an old single guy like me living alone on the farm entertains himself. And I like it that way, too, thank you.

I made my living as a furniture restorer. I've gotta have something old to be working on. I found this 1879 Singer Model 15 sewing machine in the basement. I think it was my Aunt Dorothy's. The drawers were chock full of walnuts the mice had packed away. It will be fun to get it going. I'm not much of a tailor, but I'm great with old machines. Let it snow!

Then I looked up the other afternoon and WHAMMO! we had a double rainbow over the farm.

I'm sure my son, Chad could put these two pictures together for us, but I can't.
The double rainbow went all the way over the farm from end to end. So how could anything be wrong? All is well. Eat more turkey, Eat more pie - and don't forget to set your bathroom scales back 10 or 15 pounds Wednesday night. The truth can be an obstacle to happiness sometimes.


  1. I love reading your blog Tim ��
    Cheri Kenyon

    1. Glad you get a kick out of it, Cheri. It is fun to do.

  2. Annie is turning into a beautiful adolescent! Sorry about the harsh weather swing, but at least you have forced slow-down time AND spinach. ;-)

    1. Annie is pretty, and ADOLESCENT! is the definitive term right now. She knows everything, doesn't see any point in obeying rules, and seems quite sure that I am only an annoying but convenient source of food and heat. Sometimes; other times she's a gem. It is like raising teenage boys all over again - but with the girl we never had. Spaying on the schedule for next week!

  3. Many years back I came across a homemade version of your log splitter deep in the woods. I have no idea who owned it, but it has now gone. We had a 0 C frost recently; very mild and did no damage. All my outdoor Kales, Spinaches, and Beets are all frost-proof, and see us through to Spring; but I did lose a late planted row of tender lettuces to the birds. I shouldn't have bothered.

    1. In my Wisconsin days, I once used a maul to split 10 cords of firewood to heat our house. I was younger and it was fun; hydraulic log splitters are now a necessity for me. Gardening is always a gamble - but a pleasant one with low cost for losing and big rewards when you win. Keep at it!


I love getting your feedback. Please leave me a note or ask a question.